1,000 undergraduates set to move into university-owned apartments this weekend
Following UC Santa Barbara’s decision to provide limited capacity housing for the Winter 2020 term, 1,000 undergraduates are moving into university-owned apartment buildings in Isla Vista from this Friday. All undergraduate university residences remain closed.
Students with housing contract – in addition to the 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students with special circumstances who have been living on campus since the fall 2020 term – will be moving to undergraduate apartments between Jan. 15 and Jan. 18, according to Jill Hurd, principal of UCSB Residential & Community Living.
Only 10 to 20 students will travel per hour to adhere to the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, Hurd said. Additionally, all new students will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival, sequester for a week and be retested at the end of the week, according to Accommodation, catering and auxiliary companies of UCSB. Residents will also need to undergo weekly testing throughout the quarter.
The decision to reopen the undergraduate apartments comes as the university hopes to start reopening parts of campus life, such as a wider offering of in-person classes, than the university. Explain in a message from Chancellor Henry T. Yang in November.
“Our plan to provide more housing on campus is a prudent but important step forward in meeting the needs of our students and in starting to recover. Campus life, ”Yang said in the post.
As students return to their university accommodation, Hurd said the university was taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including changing housing conditions and disinfecting rooms before moving in.
“Most of the rooms the students move into have been empty for months and don’t need special sanitation,” said Hurd. “Those who have taken in students, even if they have been vacant longer than the virus can survive, will be disinfected before new students move in.”
Each resident will have their own private bathroom or share it with a student, as opposed to room arrangements in a non-pandemic scenario in which many students share a common bathroom, according to Hurd.
Although Santa Barbara is in the purple level – the most restrictive COVID-19 security level – and less than a month home order, the university has reassured to the campus community that extensive planning and mitigation efforts, such as mandatory weekly testing and a no-guest policy, will ensure the health and safety of students and the community.
Hurd said that in the event of a further increase in campus cases, the university intends to consult with local health officials, state officials and UC system officials to combat the epidemics.
The new student residents, many of whom are freshmen who have never lived in the Santa Barbara area before, said they were ready to take weekly COVID-19 tests and take other precautions if that means being able to enjoy the course in person. first year experience.
“The most important thing would be to live away from your parents for the first time, to have to deal with roommates, to be able to live this life where you can plan your own time,” said Henry Dong, a student at first year in pre-biology.
Despite public health restrictions in place, out-of-town students are eager to continue the quintessential freshman exploration of Santa Barbara and Goleta.
“I’ve never been to Santa Barbara personally and never really spent much time in Southern California,” said Andrew Gersch, a freshman philosophy student at Chico. “Being in a new place is really exciting, and I think there are still ways to do it while being safe.”
Given how difficult it is to make new friends online, Gersch said he greatly anticipates virtues once taken for granted of in-person teaching, such as the ability to converse with others between classes and simply “have a normal interaction.” ”
Students like Mariah Moukbel, a second-year double major in psychology and sociology returning to IV, feel confident about the university’s planning efforts and preparation for handling another potential peak in COVID-19 cases .
“I don’t think the students will be sent home because we have a lot of facilities, different types of events and resources available,” Moukbel said. “And now that we understand better what [COVID-19] consists of, we are better able to have a better plan and a better view of things. “
The mandatory weekly testing, according to Dong, “discourages many people who like to party, who are more likely to find an IV apartment than sign a college contact,” and said it reduced the risk of a possible increase. cases. .
Dong remains wary of vague language in the housing contract, which he says should be more specific to include more specific rules about what students are allowed to do once they arrive on campus.
“Anyone would assume we can go anywhere,” Dong said. “And I have a feeling that a lot of students will benefit from it.”